During his visit today to the Iorras area in the Mayo Gaeltacht, Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, announced that he has officially approved a Language Plan for the Gaeltacht Service Town of Castlebar. A Gaeltacht Service Town is a town that provides public and social services to the Gaeltacht community. Status as a Gaeltacht Service Town is achieved when a language plan prepared by the town's community is approved under the Gaeltacht Act, 2012.
The language plan was compiled by Gnó Mhaigh Eo to set up the language planning process in Castlebar. A Language Planning Officer will be employed to implement the plan under the direction of the organisation and with the support of Foras na Gaeilge.
This is the seventh Gaeltacht Service Town identified so far under the language planning process. Foras na Gaeilge provides ongoing support to these Gaeltacht Service Towns and Irish Language Networks to prepare and implement language plans.
Communities from Letterkenny, West Belfast, Galway, Loughrea, Carntogher, Clondalkin and Ennis are active in this campaign, encouraging their communities to use the Irish language as they take part in events in their community. With plans now approved in Tralee and Dungarvan, these Irish language communities are flourishing throughout the country and in West Belfast. 'It will strengthen the wind in your sails' - to be involved, as they say in a new national video launched by Foras na Gaeilge.
As he approved the Castlebar Language Plan, Minister of State Chambers said:
“I would like to congratulate Gnó Mhaigh Eo - the Lead Organisation of the Gaeltacht Service Town - and all those involved in putting together the language plan for the town. As with all the plans already in place, the Castlebar language plan will provide opportunities for the town community to be central to the extra effort required to ensure the safe and secure transmission of the Irish language to generations to come. The significant funding I have announced today will support the implementation of the language planning process in Castlebar, and throughout the country, in order to strengthen the position of the Irish language.”
He also announced that he has approved a grant of up to €75,000 to support Coláiste Uisce located in Eachléim to carry out a work programme agreed with the Department in relation to the promotion of the Irish language in the area among young people especially.
Announcing the grant for Coláiste Uisce, Minister of State Chambers said:
"Coláiste Uisce has 30 years of experience in providing courses for teenagers that help them learn the Irish language and leadership skills and gain self-confidence. I am pleased that my Department is able to approve this grant for them to implement their work programme. I am sure that this investment will be in the interest of the Irish language and that young people, including Gaeltacht and Gaelcholáisti students, will benefit from and have fun during the courses that will be made available with this grant."
This grant for Coláiste Uisce is in line with the commitment given to the Community and Language Supports Programme under actions 2.14, 2.15 and 2.21 of the 2018-2022Action Plan.
In addition, Minister of State Chambers is taking the opportunity to visit Coláiste Mhaigh Eo and Páirc Spraoi Chomhar Dhún Chaocháin. He will meet the members of the Dún Chaocháin committee and he will see the new all-weather playground which will be a facility to encourage young people using the Irish language in an enjoyable, sporty and fun way.